Bentley speed six

References

Print
  • Brooks, Philip C. (2009). Carpenter, Rhonda; Iwalani, Kahikina (eds.). «The Mighty Sixes». The International Club for Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners Desk Diary 2010. Tampa, FL USA: Faircount: 26–35.
  • Culshaw, David; Horrobin, Peter (2013) . «Bentley». The Complete Catalogue of British Cars 1895 — 1975 (e-book ed.). Poundbury, Dorchester, UK: Veloce Publishing. pp. 80–84. ISBN 978-1-845845-83-4.
  • Posthumus, Cyril (1977) . The Story of Veteran & Vintage Cars. John Wood, illustrator. Feltham, Middlesex, UK: Hamlyn. p. 102. ISBN 0-600-39155-8.
Online

Bentley timeline, 1920s–present

Type 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
Ownership Bentley Motors Limited(1919–1931) Rolls-RoyceBentley Motors (1931) Limited(1931–1980) Vickers plcRolls-RoyceBentley Motors (1931) Limited(1980–1998) Volkswagen Group(1998–)
Coachbuilder’sopen2/4 seater 3 L 4½ L6½ LSpeed Six
Coachbuilder’slarge salooncoupé orconvertible 6½ LSpeed Six8 L 4L3½ 4¼LMark V Mark VI R S1S2S3 T
Cont Continental S1Continental S2Continental S3
Cars with Bentley own-factory coachwork
Largesaloon Mark VI R S1S2S3 T1 T2 Mulsanne Brooklands Arnage Mulsanne
Turbo R
Coupé Corniche Continental R/S/T Br.
Convertible Corniche Continental Azure
Bentleys on the Volkswagen platform
Largesaloon ContinentalFlying Spur
Coupé Continental GT
Convertible Continental GTC
SUV Bentayga
  • Walter Owen Bentley (founder)
  • A marque of the Volkswagen Group
  • Bentley Boys

Bentley timeline, 1921–1931

type /class 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931
Sports car 3 L
4½ L & Blower
Grand tourer 6½ L & Speed Six 4L
Luxury vehicle 8 L
  • founder: Walter Owen Bentley
  • A marque of the Volkswagen Group
  • Bentley Boys

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current 05:32, 28 August 2010 3,648 × 2,736 (4.71 MB) Ascaron {{Information |Description={{en|1=1930 Bentley Speed Six Nutting Coupe (Train Bleu)}} |Source=http://www.flickr.com/photos/seat850/3829397192/in/photostream/ |Author=Craig Howell |Date=2009 |Permission= |other_versions= }}

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The Blue Train

Le Train Bleu (lit. «the blue train«), officially the Calais-Méditerranée Express, was a luxury French night express train which carried wealthy and famous passengers between Calais and the French Riviera from 1922 until 1938. It was colloquially referred to as «le train bleu» in French and the Blue Train in English because of its dark blue sleeping cars, and became formally known as Le Train Bleu after World War II.

It was created by a private French railroad company, the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée, or PLM, to take British aristocrats, celebrities and the wealthy to the French Riviera. It made its first journey on December 8, 1922.

The prime season for «le train bleu» was between November and April, when wealthy travellers escaped the British winter to spend their holiday on the French Riviera. It originated at the Gare Maritime in Calais, where it picked up British passengers from the ferries across the English Channel. It departed at 1:00 in the afternoon and went to the Gare du Nord in Paris, then around Paris by the Grande Ceinture line to the Gare de Lyon, where it picked up additional passengers and coaches. It departed Paris early in the evening, and made stops at Dijon, Chalon, and Lyon, before reaching Marseille early in the morning. It then made stops at all the major resort towns of the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur: St. Raphael, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, and its final destination, Menton, near the Italian border.

Bentley Speed Six

Woolf Barnato’s Speed Six H. J. Mulliner saloon, in which he raced against the Blue Train.

In March 1930, at a dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, talk around the table had swung round to the topic of motor cars; in particular to the advertisement by Rover claiming that its Light Six had gone faster than the famous «Le train bleu» express. Woolf Barnato, chairman of Bentley and winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in and , contended that just to go faster than the Blue Train was of no special merit. He raised the stakes by arguing that at the wheel of his Bentley Speed Six, he could be at his club in London before the train reached Calais and bet £100 on that challenge.

The next day, 13 March 1930, as the Blue Train steamed out of Cannes station at 17:45h, Barnato and his relief driver, amateur golfer Dale Bourn, finished their drinks and drove the Bentley away from the bar at the Carlton. From Lyon onwards they had to battle against heavy rain. At 4:20h, in Auxerre, they lost time searching for a refueling rendezvous. Through central France they hit fog, then shortly after Paris they had a burst tyre, requiring the use of their only spare. They reached the dock at Boulogne at 10:30h, sailed to England on the cross-Channel packet, and were parking outside The Conservative Club in St. James’s Street, London, at 15:20h, four minutes before the Blue Train reached Calais, thus winning the bet. The French authorities promptly fined him a sum far greater than his winnings for racing on public roads,[citation needed] and Bentley was excluded from the 1930 Paris Salon for advertising an unauthorized race.

The Blue Train Bentley controversy

Barnato’s Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé, often believed to be the car that raced the Blue Train despite being delivered to Barnato weeks after the race.

Barnato drove an H. J. Mulliner-bodied Bentley Speed Six formal saloon during the race, which became known as the Blue Train Bentley. Two months later, on 21 May 1930, he took delivery of a new Bentley Speed Six streamlined fastback «Sportsman Coupe» by Gurney Nutting. Barnato named it the «Blue Train Special» in memory of his race, and it too became commonly referred to as the Blue Train Bentley. The H. J. Mulliner-bodywork was stripped off the original car’s chassis to make place for a bespoke replacement, as was common practice for automobiles at that time.

As time passed, the Gurney Nutting-bodied car was regularly mistaken for or erroneously referred to as being the car that had raced the Blue Train. This was reiterated in articles and in Terence Cuneo’s painting of the race, which shows the Gurney Nutting coupé just ahead of the train. In 2005 Bentley featured the coupé in the company’s promotional material celebrating the race’s 75th anniversary.

Careful reading of Barnato’s account of the race, published in the 1946 British Racing Drivers’ Club review, show that Barnato referred to «my Speed Six saloon,» keeping petrol cans in the boot, and having only one spare tyre, while the Sportsman Coupė had no boot and two spare tyres, one on either side of the bonnet. Research efforts by Bruce and Jolene McCaw of Medina, Washington, who bought the Gurney Nutting-built «Blue Train Special», have further exposed and widely publicised the mistake. The original H. J. Mulliner Blue Train Bentley bodywork was also reconstructed, and both cars have been fully restored. They are both currently owned by the McCaws.

Top Gear Race ‘Car vs. Train’

The Top Gear television series presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May regularly features various long-distance, «epic», races where Clarkson or one of the other presenters drives a car against other forms of transport.

During 2004 (in a programme aired 9 May 2004), Clarkson drove an Aston Martin DB9 from the Dunsfold studio in Surrey to Monte Carlo against Hammond and May who took the TGV and Eurostar trains. Hammond and May walked two miles to a bus stop, took a bus to Guildford railway station, train to London Waterloo, then the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, the RER to Gare de Lyon, the TGV to Nice and another train to Monte Carlo.

Rover Light Six

1929 Rover Light Six «Blue Train»

In January 1930, the Rover name was publicised by a race between a Rover and «Le train bleu» on the train’s 750-mile (1,210 km) run between Calais and Cannes. The idea of racing the Blue Train was popular with motor enthusiasts, and each new attempt was received with varying expectations of success. Many had already failed this challenge. Former motorcycle tester and pioneer publicist Dudley Noble had the idea to promote the new Rover Light Six by racing it against the Blue Train across France from St. Raphael on the Côte d’Azur to Calais. Noble knew that the average speed of the Blue Train, once all its stops and detours were taken into account, was no more than about 40 mph (64 km/h). To beat the train, Noble had to drive more or less non-stop from St. Raphael to Calais. The Rover Light Six averaged 38 mph (61 km/h) on its 750 miles (1,210 km) journey to beat the train’s expected time of just over 20 hours, which gave the Rover team a 20-minute lead over the train. The Blue Train had been beaten for the first time and the Rover team became celebrities through the Daily Express.

Prototype race

Bentley built a development mule with a 4¼ L straight-six engine derived from the 3 Litre’s four cylinder engine. To disguise the car’s origin, it had a large, wedge-shaped radiator and was registered as a «Sun». The chassis was given a large very light weight Weymann-type built by Freestone and Webb.

W. O. Bentley combined one of his road tests of the Sun with a trip to see the 1924 French Grand Prix in Lyon. On his return trip to the ferry at Dieppe, W. O. encountered another disguised car at a three-way junction. W. O. and the Rolls-Royce test driver recognized each other and began racing each other along the routes nationales. This street race continued until the Rolls-Royce driver’s hat blew off and he had to stop to retrieve it. The Sun’s tyres were heavily worn when W.O. got to the ferry at Dieppe.

References

Citations

  1. References:
    • [page needed]
  2. ^ Auto Aficionado
  3. ^ The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 12 April 1930, p. 5 (from Autocar)
  4. ^ ,
  5. ^ , New Zealand Classic Car Magazine, Issue 190
  6. ^ , The Seattle Times, September 7, 2007
  7. ^
  8. ^

Sources

Print
  • Brady, Chris; Lorenz, Andrew (2005). . Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-273-70653-5.
Online
  • «Top Gear». Series 4. Episode 1. 2004-05-09. BBC Two. Jeremy Clarkson: No train can be faster than cars, not possible okay? And to prove the point I organised an epic race.
  • «Top Gear». Series 10. Episode 5. 2007-11-11. BBC Two. Jeremy Clarkson: And now it is time for one of our epic races, you know the sort of thing where a Bugatti races across the Alps against a truffle, or a McLaren-Mercedes races a power boat to Oslo.

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Camera manufacturer Panasonic
Camera model DMC-FZ28
Exposure time 1/200 sec (0.005)
F-number f/5
ISO speed rating 160
Date and time of data generation 12:22, 16 August 2009
Lens focal length 4.8 mm
Orientation Normal
Horizontal resolution 180 dpi
Vertical resolution 180 dpi
Software used Ver.1.0
File change date and time 12:22, 16 August 2009
Y and C positioning Co-sited
Exposure Program Normal program
Exif version 2.21
Date and time of digitizing 12:22, 16 August 2009
Meaning of each component
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  2. Cb
  3. Cr
  4. does not exist
Image compression mode 4
APEX exposure bias
Maximum land aperture 3 APEX (f/2.83)
Metering mode Pattern
Light source Unknown
Flash Flash did not fire, compulsory flash suppression
Supported Flashpix version 0,100
Color space sRGB
Sensing method One-chip color area sensor
File source Digital still camera
Scene type A directly photographed image
Custom image processing Normal process
Exposure mode Auto exposure
White balance Auto white balance
Digital zoom ratio
Focal length in 35 mm film 27 mm
Scene capture type Standard
Scene control Low gain up
Contrast Normal
Saturation High saturation
Sharpness Hard

6½ Litre

1927 Bentley 6½ Litrewith H. J. Mulliner & Co. limousine body

Rear view

Realizing from the impromptu race that the Sun had no performance advantage over Rolls-Royce’s latest development, W. O. increased the bore of his six-cylinder engine from 80 millimetres (3.1 in) to 100 millimetres (3.9 in). With a 140 mm (5.5 in) stroke, the engine had a displacement of 6.6 L (6,597 cc (402.6 cu in)) Like the four-cylinder engine, Bentley’s straight-6 included overhead camshaft, 4 valves per cylinder, and a single-piece engine block and cylinder head cast in iron, which eliminated the need for a head gasket. In base form, with a single Smiths 5-jet carburettor, twin ignition magnetos, and a compression ratio of 4.4:1, the Bentley 6½ Litre delivered 147 horsepower (110 kW) at 3500 revolutions per minute.

Although based on the 3 Litre’s engine, the 6½ engine incorporated many improvements. The 3 Litre’s cone-type clutch was replaced by a dry-plate design that incorporated a clutch brake for fast gear changes,[citation needed] and the car had power-assisted four-wheel brakes with finned drums. The front brakes had 4 leading shoes per drum.[citation needed] By operating a patented compensating device, the driver could adjust all four brakes to correct for wear while the car was moving, which was particularly advantageous during races.[citation needed]

A variety of wheelbases were provided ranging from 132 to 152.5 in (3,353 to 3,874 mm). The most popular wheelbase was 150 inches.

Speed Six

Old Number One, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in and

Speed Six tourer with original body by coachbuilder Hooper

The Bentley Speed Six chassis was introduced in 1928 as a more sporting version of the Bentley 6½ Litre. With a single-port block, two SU carburettors, a high-performance camshaft, and a compression ratio of 5.3:1, the Speed Six’s engine produced 180 hp (130 kW) at 3500 rpm. The Speed Six chassis was available to customers with wheelbases of 138 inches (3,505 mm), 140.5 inches (3,569 mm), and 152.5 inches (3,874 mm), with the 138 inch wheelbase being most popular.

The Criminal Investigation Department of the Western Australia Police operated two saloon-bodied examples as patrol cars.

In March 1930, Barnato in a Speed Six with H. J. Mulliner saloon coachwork, reaching his club in London before the train was due in the station at Calais. It had generally been believed that the car in the race was a Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé, but that coupé was delivered to Barnato in May 1930, more than a month after the race.

Factory racing cars

The racing version of the Speed Six had a wheelbase of 11 feet (132 in; 3,353 mm) and an engine with a compression ratio of 6.1:1 that produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 3500 rpm. Successful in racing, these cars won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1929 and 1930 with Bentley Boys drivers «Tim» Birkin, Glen Kidston, and Woolf Barnato, the chairman of Bentley Motors.

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